We bet you’ve performed “Oops, I did it again” at least once in your life while showering. And yes, we, too, are “doing it again”—helping you revamp your home space! Today, we will help turn your shower room into an actual performance stage with the help of bathroom tile design ideas. But as with every show(er) scene, the ambiance can make or break the performance.
Image credits: R ARCHITECTURE.
Scenography is about setting the right mood and having the proper background to bring your show to life. So, we will try to break down the latest trends in bathroom tile design with the support of the experienced architect and Ph.D. student, Endri Kiçaj.
“We need to understand that the bathroom is one of the most important rooms of a building, though it’s often underrated. It is not just about its function. Sometimes, for those of us who suffer from the pleasure of having multiple kids, the bathroom is the only place where we can find some peace and quiet. For others who work from home, it’s more of a break room and a safe space to reset the brain. In conclusion, it is a very intimate and unique area for each of us,” explains Endri.
Image credits: Claire Rendall.
So, let’s find out how to design your new bathroom or renovate the existing one with the latest trends in bathroom design and our expert decorating ideas.
What Type of Tile is Best for Bathrooms?
“In interior design, they [tiles] are the foundation of solid, beautiful surfaces. What’s important to understand is that a tile is part of a pattern, a texture, and creates a bigger picture. So, we as homeowners and designers must treat the tile as a building block of something great,” adds Endri.
However, let’s get practical. A typical place to expect tiled surfaces is the bathroom. Pretty much every building has a bathroom. Most probably, they are built using tiles, whether it’s tile flooring, a tile accent wall, or even a shower wall tile.
Defining the best tile to make a bathroom functional and visually nice is a straight-on-point question. Whatever you decide, you should remember that good tiles for the bathroom have three main characteristics.
It must be easy to install, water resistant, and match the bathroom design. One of the most popular tile choices is porcelain, which greatly enjoys all three qualities. Still, there are more tile materials, shapes, and patterns that you need to consider.
Image credits: DokaRyan.
5 Popular Materials for Your Bathroom Tiles
It’s crucial to add a few words on materials as, in most cases, those are fundamental for good interior design. So, let’s find the best tile material to complement your bathroom.
1. Porcelain Tile
Porcelain holds the crown as the most popular material for bathroom tiles. Porcelain is composed of durable white clay. Moreover, porcelain tiles are non-slip and come in various colors. With glazed porcelain, you can easily design custom patterns for a cute bathroom design.
Image credits: Nathan Van Egmond.
2. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile comes in second to porcelain and is just as water-resistant and durable. Ceramic is made from brown or red clay and is more lightweight than porcelain. A significant advantage is the affordable price and the various patterns it comes with.
To add to its qualities, ceramic comes in various forms. You can use the terracotta type for that earthy Mediterranean look or reuse broken ceramic pottery with a protective layer on top to add cold-war vibes. Some communities in Latin countries and the Far East use this type of ceramic as a distinctive style for their cultures.
“Ceramic tiles are my first go-to choice because they add a sense of history and familiarity to the space. This helps turn the room into an intimate and well-maintained area for a long time,” says Endri.
Image credits: Sven Brandsma.
Well, glass is glass! If you’re looking for a tile to make your bathroom feel elegant, go for glass. Usually, glass tiles are best for specific spots. Due to their fragile structure, place glass tiles in a space you only use occasionally.
Glass tiles are not limited to just decorating a room, though. They can be a structural element, too. You can use glass tiles to divide parts of the bathroom or even the bathroom from the rest of the house with semi-transparent tiled walls. This will let the light shine through and make the bathroom look brighter.
Image credits: palmerstondesign.
“Some places, like Murano in Venice, are known for their glass works, which create complex varieties and stunning patterns. But you must remember that quality comes with a price,” adds Endri.
4. Natural Stone Tile (Marble and Granite)
Natural stone tiles are durable and can add a luxurious touch to your bathroom. You should go with natural stone for a warm, classic bathroom. It offers more unique shades and textures compared to ceramic.
Moreover, natural stone tiles come in various sizes, from small mosaic tiles to huge slabs that can go up to 3 meters. This type of large natural stone tile is ideal for homeowners who want a clean and simple design for their bathroom.
Image credits: Medea Dzagnidze.
The best representatives are granite and marble. Thanks to its shapes and hues, marble is excellent for modern bathroom tiles. Endri suggests using Calacatta marble tiles: “It can be perfectly combined with black or gold elements in your bathroom as it always adds a rich, modern, and sophisticated touch.”
Image credits: CDK Stone.
If you need something cheaper and more durable, then granite is the one for you. It has a more seamless texture and is less likely to get damaged. Still, be careful with high temperatures in the room and use a pH-neutral mild detergent to avoid discoloration. Above all, take great care when installing natural stone tiles.
Limestone is a decent replacement for natural stone tile. It’s the best for earthy tones in beige and brown hues combinations. Limestone tiles are ideal floor tiles for the bathroom. Another good quality is limestone’s texture, which is rougher than other stone types. As it’s also more durable, it’s perfect for pavements, showers, and other areas that require it to be non-slippery.
Image credits: the.palm.co.
7 Stylish Shapes & Patterns for Your Bathroom Tiles
If you are planning a bathroom renovation, these tile shapes and patterns can help you implement the most artistic bathroom tile ideas.
Hexagon tiles already offer an eye-catching format. You can create a stunning abstract geometric pattern with the right combination of colors, materials, and inches.
Image credits: OVON DESIGN.
If you want to keep up with the traditional tile bathroom, add a hexagon penny tile. It’s a classic tile design that comes in a medium size. Tile all the way up with plain hex tiles to give your bathroom a uniform, simple, and minimalistic look.
Image credits: tilewarehousett.
A mosaic is the first thought that pops up when we consider tiles. That’s because mosaic tiles offer limitless combinations that emphasize the fixtures in the bathroom. Mosaic tiles are easy to install both on bathroom flooring and walls.
There are two different types of mosaic tiles. One type is irregular-shaped tiles (called tessera), which, when assembled, create one-of-a-kind figures and patterns. However, those are pretty expensive.
Image credits: Beaumont Tiles.
The other is a more common style of mosaic tiles. They are small square tiles of different colors that are combined to deliver a final pattern. Usually, these tiles measure 4x4cm and are permanently installed in sets of 20 pieces, as illustrated in the image below.
Image credits: Bisazza Australia.
Herringbone tiles create a broken zigzag form and offer a rustic design. They are cut at a 90-degree angle but can be rotated to any angle according to the desired outcome. They could come pre-cut or cut on the spot to align with your preferences.
This type of shape can be achieved with almost every tile material. Still, nonetheless, the look you are going for is the “classic and well-maintained modernism.” It is a good companion for Art Deco bathrooms with a touch of high-class furnishing.
Image credits: National Tiles.
Chevron tiles create a zigzag pattern, too. Thanks to the neat pattern of tiles together, chevron is a great shape to create a straight line in design. They are cut at a 45-degree angle but can easily adapt to different surfaces. Chevron tiles are more expensive than herringbone ones, but they also give a more contemporary look to your space.
Image credits: Ramazan ARI.
The rectangular tile is a classic and popular choice in many modern and traditional bathrooms. It’s a basic shape available in various colors and sizes. Thus, this tile perfectly fits different interiors with a wide range of tile sizes.
Image credits: Alexandru Ionescu.
It is the cheapest to produce and install. Every homeowner can add rectangular tiles, whether an all-white bathroom with a marble tile floor or a dark gothic private space.
Image credits: Ali Moradi.
Scallop tiles create the visual illusion of a fish scale. They’re a premium design feature worth every extra penny. Fishtail-shaped tiles are ideal for creating a different style in the bathroom. Because these tiles are reminiscent of the aquatic world, they usually represent freshness, water, peace, and streams.
Image credits: Crystal Bathrooms.
7. Modern Moroccan
Moroccan tiles are the integration of different colors, shapes, and patterns in one single design. Moroccan design creates a charming combination of old times and modern days. These tiles have intricate geometric patterns, vivid colors, and a sense of cultural heritage, adding an exotic touch to any space. They are hard to handle in design due to their complexity, so be careful when picking them to get exactly what you want from their features.
Image credits: plne_home.
20 Inspiring Bathroom Tile Ideas by an Architect
This panda (aka the writer of this post) got to work on bathroom tile design and soon realized that most of the content online was recycled ideas. She asked an expert to help her out with bathroom tile ideas to create a unique piece with brand-new concepts. And here’s when Endri agreed to explain why tiles can be a perfect choice to decorate a space and how to use them in creating an outstanding bathroom design. What a story!
Image credits: Андрей Постовой.
Meet Endri Kiçaj, the architect who makes a difference with his perspective on interior design. With over six years of hands-on experience in architecture, Endri is pursuing a Ph.D. in Rome, focusing on coastal tourism developments. You can check more of his work at K5 Atelier and his online workshop. And without further ado, let’s dive into the bathroom tile design ideas Endri shared with us!
1. Ice, Ice Baby
As per the title itself, Endri recommends considering an all-white tiled bathroom. Going for one color is a popular yet bold choice. It only requires a little effort in installing them, but a clear vision of the overall design.
A white subway tile is always a smart choice to design an entire bathroom. It makes a small space look bigger and brighter by reflecting the sunlight. It’s a timeless and elegant choice.
Image credits: Steven Ungermann.
Another concept that Endri suggests is a design with huge slabs and very few, almost invisible joints between the tiles. This leads to an uninterrupted surface. It is easier to clean and has fewer premises to accumulate dust.
If you worry that tiling up your bathroom might make it look cold, break the pattern with grayscale paint and decor elements. A silver-framed mirror, metal drawers, and other furnishing can break the ice of your whitey pattern.
Image credits: Obi – @pixel7propix.
“A wooden platform for your sink can warm up the place. You can always use various tile textures, too. White can come in different shades. A white-ish terrazzo tile can spice up your icy whiteness with a few tiny glimpses of color,” suggests Endri.
Image credits: Sidekix Media.
2. Create a Panda-Themed Bathroom
Someone loved the panda’s fur colors so much that they decided to use it in the interior decor. This is how the strong contrasting styles came to light (probably).
The black and white design has been a popular modern decor for ages. Endri suggests enhancing your bath time experience with black shower tiles, black flooring, and white subway tiles on the walls and the ceiling.
Image credits: VIGO.
Another decoration could be to add a checkerboard design to your bathroom. Whether it’s the ceiling, the floor, or the walls, it doesn’t matter. The overall decor must be dominated by only black and white. But the furniture can vary in this case from elegant, classy tones to straight modern lines. And it still goes well with a Panda theme!
Image credits: House Beautiful UK.
3. Size Doesn’t Matter
Tiny or large tiles? It’s a difficult decision, but in this case, you don’t have to pick. You just need to combine them together for a visually attractive bathroom decor.
Image credits: Bathrooms of Instagram.
For example, Endri suggests a nice combination of green tiles with wider limestone placements on the walls. Add some brownish wooden furniture to enhance the look of a forestal decor.
Image credits: Bathrooms of Instagram.
You can always go for a combo of hexagon tiles with rectangle ones, or in some cases, you can dare with parquet boards. It will work for that interesting combination of bringing in the old times with new, modern days.
Image credits: thetileclub.
4. Play With Geometric Illusions
Another example of mixing tiles in different shapes and designs is creating geometric illusions. Strict patterns that repeat themselves are visually nice and help the brain capture them easily.
Image credits: Stoffer Photography Interiors.
Endri suggests a new design for your bathroom: “Try a pattern that makes the bathroom look like a box with emphasized corners and lines. Another ‘playful’ illusion could be tiled walls that look like going deeper due to their repetitive pattern. Smaller tiles in the corners give an added sense of perspective. Have fun with it.”
Image credits: Artistic Tile.
5. Fake It Till You Make It to Woodland
This might seem a bit daunting at first, but it is worth a try if you like exotic landscapes for your house. You can use small or subway tiles with shades of deep green with white joints to set the mood of a tropical forest.
Image credits: Riad Tile.
“I’d go for green marble with non-noticeable joining lines and plants with huge evergreen leaves. All these elements will lead to a personal small tropical paradise. For this type of bathroom, you should cover every surface with tiles or at least paint in the same color every little spot. Add shiny faucets for an extra woodland sparkle,” explains Endri.
Image credits: Autoban.
6. Make a Statement With Marble-tiled Floor
Marble is one of the most universal materials for decoration, and the possibilities are endless. Endri explains: “Calacatta marble with dark furniture and classic faucet will allow you to brag about that fine Italian touch.”
Image credits: Anastasiia Reznichenko.
Carrara white tile is the way to go if you want a neutral, calm, safe, and smoky look. Quartz countertops for your sink and minimal rectangle mirrors are ideal for expressing an extra touch of luxury.
Image credits: Stanton.
“Green marble is that daring pattern you are looking for. Saturated, strong, expressive, and full of life, your bathroom will look like a ballroom or a bank hall, which is appropriate if considering the costs. I’d go with simple white furniture and intricate mirrors for a top-notch bathroom,” says Endri.
Image credits: elegantmarbles.
7. Artistic Tiles in a Puzzle
“Romans were masters of the mosaic, and their legacy goes on for modern homes of daring homeowners. If you opt for a unique masterpiece, there are various patterns I can suggest for you. My favorite would be creating a focal point with dark, bold tiles in one spot. Combine hex tiles on the walls, chevrons, and herringbone to emphasize the mixed shapes on the rest of the decor. Even colorful marble tiles in a certain area of a white floor will give that area a particular meaning. It might seem difficult to manage with the tile installation, but it’s worth the effort,” suggests Endri.
Image credits: Bathrooms of Instagram.
8. Fish-Shaped Tiles Mosaic
“If you want a fresh space out of your bathroom, you might want to start looking for a fish scale theme. It looks very…aquatic. Combining their shape with shades of blue, green, and gray gives the impression of being near the sea or a pond. It works best with a white moodboard and isolated blue or green elements,” explains Endri.
Image credits: threebirdsrenovations.
This mosaic type is best installed on walls and only on a few surfaces within the room. Otherwise, an interior design of all fish-scale tiles might become overwhelming. They can be combined with checkered or white floors, plenty of plants, white furniture, and gold metalwork.
Image credits: perinitiles.
9. Add Some Drama
There are also bathroom tile ideas for those missing some excitement in their daily routine. Bold colors and contrasting materials are the best to fully express what’s going on in your mind. The best way to add some drama to your bathroom design is to place different shapes of tiles in key areas like the bathtub, shower room, or washbasin.
“Dark hexagon tiles with white or light gray herringbone stripes are a common experience. You can use wooden boards instead of herringbone tiles, creating a solid contrast in colors and materials,” suggests Endri.
Image credits: The Nile Co.
Herringbone and penny tiles are always a good combination. They work in contrasting colors or the same shade and still leave some room for drama by combining different textures. A shiny set of tiles coming down the ceiling, replaced by a rough and grainy texture, delivers a nice contrast and probably the drama you need.
Image credits: the tile club.
10. Have Your “Lady in Red”
Treat your private space in the house just as Chris de Burgh states in the lyrics for his lady in red: “There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me, it’s where I wanna be.”
Many people like to give special names to precious properties that have an outstanding character. It can be the same if you use your bathroom how you should. It can’t be more outstanding than dressed in bright red tiles, with elegant lines and a sensual vibe.
Image credits: Fran Parente.
“I’d use bright red marble, rough ceramic, or grainy porcelain tiles for the bathroom floor and penny tiles for added texture on the walls. It doesn’t have to be the same type. The combination of various types of tiles on the walls is an eye-catching technique I always play with when designing small spaces in interior decor,” explains Endri.
For example, big tiles on the walls and penny tiles for the shower can discern the “general area of the bathroom” and the shower corner.
Image credits: lance gerber.
If “only red” is too exciting for you, then go for a playful design with different colors for the furniture and appliances. White furniture brightens the place, and the dark, rich stone for the sink or shower plate gives a deeper sensation to the room.
11. Paint It Black
The Rolling Stones were not the only ones who wanted to paint it all black. This is the right bathroom decor for those who like to see the world from their throne as dark, gloomy, and mysterious.
Image credits: Max Rahubovskiy.
If you want to add a bit of adventure to your pre-bed routine, sparkling black tiles with focused bright lights are the drama you’re looking for. The dark chic glimmer adds finesse and sophistication to an underrated yet intimate room in the house for each of us. Now, in this case, the opportunities are endless.
Image credits: Architecture & Design.
“Yellow veined marble tiles speak of luxury, while mate porcelain tiles reflect minimal light. Still, they are perfect for a mysterious space. The key to perfecting this space is combining dark tiles with shiny furniture. Pay attention to creating some very isolated spots of bright light. It will focus your attention on key areas of your bathroom and wrap everything else with a mystic vibe. I’d go for black marble tiles with bright hues to turn the bathroom into a sparkling cave of crystals,” says Endri.
12. Dive Into the Blue
A type of tile called azulejo (from Moorish influences) can be the right one for your bathroom. This small square-shaped tile, used to design mosaics, is a ceramic tile in different shades of bright blue. These tiles have been showrunners for ages!
Image credits: Bathrooms of Instagram.
Covering your walls in blue mosaics will create the right personal “wall show” for you. They come almost exclusively in porcelain and add that feel of a Mediterranean touch to your house. You could cover everything with azulejos, or try white or deep blue tiles for your floor and tile the walls with azulejos.
Image credits: Beach Life Living.
This is one of those cases when you don’t have to necessarily cover your entire wall with tiles. To complete this idea, Endri adds a few last words: “I suggest classic furniture and floral motifs to complement the highly detailed drawings on the bathroom tiles.”
Image credits: Suzanne Tucker Home.
13. Follow the White Rabbit
Alice never lost her wonder and curiosity. For homeowners, Wonderland doesn’t have to be that far. Bright, colorful tiles, with a dash of white to focus your attention, are a highly sought-after bathroom decor.
Image credits: Ann Sacks Boston.
“Subway or Moroccan tiles are perfect for creating colorful mosaics. I suggest creating a pattern you can easily stare at for hours and never get bored,” says Endri before explaining his idea of a Wonderland pattern in the bathroom.
Image credits: INTERSEKT.
Colorful marble, different colors of porcelain, bright ceramics, or even multiple mosaics can be combined to create a bold concept of a Van Gogh painting. A white tile in the middle of this sea of textures will be your direction.
Image credits: gulmeninteriors.
The great thing about this composition is that you are the artist, and the bathroom is your canvas. There are no wrong choices for this idea for big, small, hex, or mosaics, as long as you have a sense of color combinations.
Image credits: iremerekinci.
The furniture could also come in various colors and shapes. Still, Endri suggests striving for minimalism, as the walls will be complex enough.
14. Be Lucy in a Sky Full of Diamonds
You don’t need to be an artist to have beautiful bathroom decor. You just need to imagine a light blue pavement, where hex tiles get gradually darker, and little glimpses of gold are placed in between.
Image credits: Greg Penn.
When you raise your head to a ceiling full of stars, you will get a picture that would even make Van Gogh tear up, and that’s how you know you’ve decorated your bathroom correctly.
Image credits: tadelakt_originale.
15. Up, Up and Away
Endri was particularly excited when he explained this idea: “This one is tricky, but it’s a blast if you get it right. You can place herringbone tiles on the walls at 45 degrees or more. This will emphasize the space in a vertical look. Go for penny tiles on the ceiling to highlight the distance. If they are bright colors, even better. It will make the space look much bigger.”
Image credits: Interior Design Addicts.
Another option he suggests is using vertical rectangular tiles that get smaller as you go up instead of placing herringbone ones. Changing the shade gradually from darker to lighter will surely lead to a more spacious-looking space.
Image credits: Bathrooms of Instagram.
5 Ideas to Make Tiles in a Small Bathroom Feel Larger
Maximizing space in a small bathroom is a common challenge in interior design. Still, it can be transformed into a stylish and functional space with the right techniques. In this section, Endri breaks down 5 decorating ideas to create the illusion of spaciousness using tiles in a bathroom.
1. Scale Down the Corner Tiles
Add a different perspective to your space by reducing the size of tiles on the corners. Create a particular illusion by scaling down elements progressively. This way, they will appear further than they are.
Image credits: Owen Gale.
Cutting tiles in smaller sizes is one way to do it. It can work with every corner or the part of the bathroom that is the farthest from the door.
Image credits: Overlook Tiles.
In the first case, the illusion can work from different angles. Still, there is the risk that your walls might seem bent outward, which is not necessarily bad but might not be exactly what you’re looking for.
In both cases, the recommended type of tiles is rectangular. Cut them to a thinner size as you go further and further from your starting point. Hexagon or herringbone tiles, with thinner and shorter stripes, work perfectly.
Image credits: Jesse Tyler.
2. Double Your Space With Mirrors
This is a fantastic, budget-friendly trick to make any space look bigger. The mirrors will double the space, making it look twice its size.
You can use full mirror walls or rectangular mirror tiles in a thin black frame that covers the entire wall. Otherwise, go with mirror mosaics with various shapes and sizes to make it extra artistic. The wall should seem like a door to another space in each case.
Image credits: Home Group.
3. Reflection Helps With Enhancing the Space
Letting the light in is a trick for big spaces to look even more spacious. Reflective areas help with enhancing this trick. They increase the amount of natural light in enclosed spaces and make it look bigger than it is. It’s similar to the mirror effect but with a more subtle look.
Image credits: Kintsugi Visual.
“You can increase reflection in tiny bathrooms by adding highly reflective material like porcelain or marble and minimizing non-reflective spots like tile joins. I prefer huge slabs of stone cut with precision and no joints at all. For example, whole-face marble slabs or stone tiles that can go up to 120x300cm in size,” adds Endri.
Image credits: Design Core.
4. The Lighter the Color, the Bigger the Space
“I can’t say it has to be necessarily white, but as a rule of thumb, light colors make the space look bigger and wider. Thankfully, there are a lot of creamy light colors to use,” says Endri.
For maximum effect, you can use a dark floor of smaller tiles (like herringbone, penny, or hex tiles) and light or white tiles for bathroom walls.
Image credits: thetileclub.
Combining black penny tiles for the floor and white subways for the walls is a classic move. Small checkered toilets are also a common choice for tiny bathrooms.
Image credits: Steve Greig.
5. Get Distracted by the Walls Decor
“I dare you to install custom-printed tiles and have puzzles stamped on your walls. You can also use a cheaper solution, such as removable wallpaper for the wall decor. Have fun with crosswords, sudoku, or just read an outdated newspaper article on the wall. With a brown or black floor and typography stamps on the walls, your bathroom will look like the editors’ office right before a big presentation,” explains Endri.
Image credits: Sean Scherer.
What Tiles Work Best in a Small Bathroom?
Penny tiles are the best shapes made for limited spaces. A light and neutral color palette is highly recommended. It will make the bathroom look bigger and more spacious. Whether it’s better to use small or large tiles in a limited space is up to your desired outcome.
Which Tile Pattern Makes a Bathroom Look Bigger?
We suggest using chevron or herringbone blocks to create a unique pattern that makes the bathroom look more spacious. These shapes and patterns will guide the eye along the surfaces from the floor up to the wall. Placing them in a diagonal position will make the space look higher.
Should Bathroom Wall Tiles Go Up to the Ceiling?
Tiling up to the ceiling is also a smart move to enhance the decor and make the bathroom look more spacious. Choose light color combinations that make the room look brighter and more spacious.
Do Bathroom Tiles Look Better In Vertical or Horizontal?
Opt for a horizontal bathroom tile installation to make the room look more expansive. Vertical arrangement makes the space look longer, but it also gives the idea of a tight room.
Which Color Palette Is Best for Bathroom Design?
Every palette that responds to your style and preferences is the right choice to decorate your bathroom. If you opt for a tranquil ambiance with a simple pattern, use neutral hues of gray and blue tiles or an all-white tiled decor. On the other hand, your bathroom is your private space, so a tile backsplash, patterned floor, or even an entire pink bathroom can be a fantastic choice, too.